The Illegal Wildlife Trade


Experts suggest that the global business of illegal trade in wildlife is second in value only to the illegal arms trade.

To date, a good deal of effort aimed at protecting endangered species has focused on habitat protection and law enforcement associated with state obligations under the terms of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES.

While some wildlife trade is legal, the illegal trade creates stress on both ecosystem and individual species, which in turn contributes to current species extinction trends often associated with the larger animals such as bears, tigers and rhinoceros.

Supply side theories of trade suggest that economic hardships serve as catalysts for illegal trade. The top video produced by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) suggests that most illegal wildlife trade falls into one of five categories: food; exotic pets; fashion; traditional medicine; and souvenirs.

Given the fact that most, if not all of these categories are broad enough to allow for alternative supply side economic growth solutions, i.e., changing the souvenir industry from a wildlife model to a non-wildlife model, efforts to change the supply side of the economic equation depend partly on changing the demand side of the equation.

IFAW Wildlife Trade: Caught in the Web

This bottom video shows one of the most recent demand side efforts aimed at slowing the pace of illegal wildlife trade by focusing on the demand side of the issue. Its theme is “When the buying stops, the killing can too!”

The WildAid Difference

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